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Publication numberUS3119610 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 28, 1964
Filing dateNov 17, 1961
Priority dateNov 17, 1961
Publication numberUS 3119610 A, US 3119610A, US-A-3119610, US3119610 A, US3119610A
InventorsElmer J Clinton
Original AssigneeElmer J Clinton
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pacing device
US 3119610 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

E. J. CLINTON FACING DEVICE Jan. 28, 1964 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed NOV. 17, 1961 INVENTOR ELMER .1. CLINTON ATTORNEY E. J. CLINTON Jan. 28, 1964 PACING DEVICE 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Nov. 17, 1961 NQI ELMER J. CLINTON ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,119,610 PACING DEVICE Elmer .1. Clinton, Elm Ridge Road, Pennington, NJ. Filed Nov. 17, 1961, Ser. No. 153,027 6 Claims. (Cl. 272-4) This invention relates to a pacing device and more particularly to a device for providing a controlled reference speed for pacing athletic and racing events.

In many athletic events such as swimming, track and field, and other sports, athletes strive for speed and endurance in racing over a determined course, either by swimming, running, walking, sprinting, or the like. Constant practice is necessary in order to build and maintain physical endurance and to improve performance. Coaches and athletes have long recognized the need for the athlete to develop the ability to pace himself in order to con serve energy and to maximize performance.

In order to develop pacing ability an athlete such as a swimmer races against time to learn his specific limits of endurance and capability. The disadvantage with this practice is that the swimmer has no way of accurately knowing how fast he is swimming at any particular moment or what his time will be until the race is completed. Also in practice the athlete may have little incentive to swim at his best in the absence of competition. Thus it is difficult for the athlete to develop the ability to pace himself in practice sessions.

It is an object of this invention to provide a pacing device for training athletes.

Another object of this invention is to provide a device for pacing an athlete over a predetermined course at a controlled reference speed.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide a device for pacing an athlete in racing over a determined course at variable speeds which may be increased as the athlete improves his performance.

A further object of this invention is to provide a pacing device in which a reference object, clearly visible to an athlete, is advanced along a determined course at a known speed whereby the athlete is aware of the exact speed at which he is performing at all times.

Another object of this invention is to provide a pacing device for training athletes including means for simulating turns and other movements of an athlete.

These and many other objects are achieved by my invention which in general may include an endless cord supported on pulleys and extending around a determined course. A reference object such as a balloon is secured to the endless cord. Variable speed drive means secured to one of the pulleys advance the endless cord and the target secured thereto around the determined course at a controlled reference speed. Control means are provided to adjust the speed of the drive means so that the balloon speed may be varied. Further control means are provided for momentarily stopping the drive means at determined intervals whereby the balloon pauses at various points along the determined course simulating turns or other movements during which the athlete varies his normal racing speed.

A better understanding of my invention may be had from the following detailed description when taken in view of the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of my invention as employed as a swim pacing device;

FIGURE 2 is a side view of my invention illustrating how an endless cord and a balloon secured to the cord is advanced along the length of a swimming pool on pulleys and variable speed drive means for regulating the speed of the balloon.

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FIGURE 3 is a plan view of my invention as shown in FIGURE 2 illustrating the variable speed means in further detail;

FIGURE 4 illustrates how the balloon is secured to the endless cord;

FIGURE 5 is an electrical schematic illustrating an alternative electrical speed control means for varying the speed of the pacing balloon of my invention.

Although I have described my invention as a pacer for swimming events and illustrated a preferred embodiment of my invention in the drawings as a swim pacing device, it is to be understood that my invention may be used to pace all types of athletic events, such as foot racing or any event where a contestant is concerned with traversing a determined course.

Referring now to FIGURE 1, a preferred embodiment of my invention is shown being employed to pace swimmers in a pool 11. Endless cords 12 having a clearly visible reference object such as a balloon 13 secured thereto are advanced along the length of the pool 11 at a controlled speed so as to provide the swimmers with a speed reference. As shown in FIGURES 2 and 3 each cord 12 extends around and between a drive pulley 14 and an idler pulley 15 supported at either end of the pool 11 on a control pedestal 17 and an idler post 18 respectively.

The control pedestal 17 comprises a base 19 secured to the deck 20 of the pool 11 by means of anchor bolts 21 for permanent installations. The control pedestal 17 may be tied down by means of rope or other suitable means so that it may be more easily removed when not in use. A constant speed electric motor 22 connected to a suitable source of power by means of cable 23 is mounted in a closed boxlike frame 24. The output shaft of the constant speed motor 22 (not shown) is connected to a variable speed reducer 25 having a vertical output shaft 26. A mechanical speed control arm 27 is provided for varying the speed of the output shaft 26 over a determined range. The mechanical speed control arm 27 extends from the speed reducer 25 through a slot in the back of the box-like frame 24. In a preferred embodiment the output shaft of the constant speed motor is 1500 r.p.m. and the variable speed reducer 25 is arranged 'to provide a uniformly variable speed between 0-400 rpm. at the output shaft 26 by adjusting the mechanical speed control arm 27.

The output shaft 26 is connected by means of a coupling 28 to a drive shaft 29 extending through the top of the box 'like frame 24 and rotatively supported in a hollow pedestal arm 30 secured to the frame. A pulley 31 is secured to the shaft 29. The pedestal arm 30 extends over the edge of the pool 11 and the drive pulley 14 is mounted on a vertically disposed shaft 32 extending through the pedestal arm 30. The shaft 32 is mounted in suitable bearings and positioned so that the periphery of the drive pulley :14 passes directly over the edge of the pool 11 as shown by the vertical dotted line 33.

A pulley 34 is secured to the shaft 32 and a nonslip drive belt 35 extends around the pulleys 31 and 34 to connect the shaft 32 to the drive shaft 29. Thus the drive pulley 14 may be driven at varying speeds from 0-400 r.p.m. The peripheral speed of the drive pulley 14 and the linear speed of the endless cord 12 is determined by the diameter of the drive pulley which may also be varied.

A normally closed switch 36 connected in electrical circuit with the constant speed motor 22 is mounted adjacent the drive pulley 14 on a cross member 37 secured to the pedestal arm 30. The switch 3 6 is of the time delay self-closing type so that when opened the motor 22 is momentarily deenergize d stopping the drive pulley 14. After a predetermined interval the switch 36 closes energizing the motor 22 to again rotate the drive pulley 1'4. A tachometer 38 provided with a dial calibrated in yards per second is mounted on the pedestal arm 30 and connected to the shaft 32 by means of a speed pick up cable 39. The tachometer 38 provides a direct' reading on the balloon speed in yards per second.

The idler post '18 comprises a base 40 anchored to the deck of the pool 11 by means of bolts 41. Like the control pedestal 17 the idler post 18 may be tied down by ropes or cables for easy adjustment and removal. A vertical post 42 extends over the edge of the pool 11. The idler pulley 15 is secured to the vertical shaft 44 rotatively mounted in suitable bearings at the end of the idler arm 43. Shaft 44 is positioned so that the periphery of the idler pulley 15 passes directly over the edge of the pool 11 as shown by the dotted line 45.

Referring to FIGURE 4 the balloon 13 is tied to a wire clip 46 secured to the endless cord 12 which passes through eyes formed in the spaced ends 47 of the .wire clip 46. A knot 48 formed in the endless cord 12 between spaced ends 47 of the wire clip 46 prevents the wire clip and thus the balloon from sliding relative to the endless cord 12. The wire clip 46 prevents the balloon 13 from twisting and wrapping about the endless cord 12 as it is moved and whipped around the drive and idler pulleys 14 and 15 respectively. In addition the wire clip 46 actuates the switch 36 to deencrgize the motor 22 each time it passes around the drive pulley 14.

A second switch actuator 49 is secured to the endless cord 12 at a point equidistant from the balloon 13 so that the switch 36 is momentarily opened each time the balloon 13 reaches either the control pedestal .17 or idler post 18. This momentary deenerg-ization of the motor 22 stops the drive pulley 14 and the balloon 13 each time the balloon reaches the end of the pool, simulating turns or other movements of the swimmer. This is an important feature as it prevents the target from running away from the swimmer during intervals when the swimmer travels at slower speed than his normal pace. Also, if desired, a number of'switch actuators may be secured to the endless cord 12 at various distances to simulate a number of turns and other movements by the swimmer at various positions in the pool 11. As an alternative to this arrangement a timer circuit may be connected in circuit with the motor 22 to momentarily deenergize the motor 22 atdetermined intervals, such as when the targetballoon 13 reaches either end of the pool 11 or when the swimmer changes strokes.

In operation the mechanical speed control arm 27 is adjusted to the r.p.m. position and the motor 22 is turned on. For a swimming event involving a diving start the balloon 13 is positioned a-few yards from the edge of the pool 11 to compensate for the swimmers diving take off speed-which is faster than his normal swimming speed. The swimmer starts upon command and the mechanical speed control arm 27 is simultaneously moved to the desired pacing speed. On surfacing after a diving start, the balloon is clearly visible to the swimmer and remains inhis field of vision each time he raises his head. By keeping pace with the balloon the swimmer willtraverse the swimming courseor distance in the desired time.

As the balloon :13 reaches the idler pulley 15 the switch actuator 49 attached to the endless cord strikes and opens the normally closed switch 36, to deenergize the motor 22 and momentarily stop the drive pulley 14. This stops the balloon 13 at the idler post 18 as the swimmer reaches the edge of the pool 11 and starts his turn. The switch 36 then closes to start the motor 22 and the drive pulley 14. The balloon 13 travels around the idler pulley 15' land is advanced toward the control pedestal 17. Thus the momentary delay of the balloon 13 simulates the delay of the swimmers turn at the end of the pool. When the balloon 13 reaches the drive pulley 14, the

wire clip 46 opens the switch 36 to again deenergize the motor 22 and stop the drive pulley. The switch 36 re mains open only long enough to simulate the extra time required by the swimmers turn at which time it closes to advance the balloon 13 and continue the pace.

in instances where the swimmers objective exceeds his present ability, the coach places a marker at the point where the swimmer is no longer able to maintain the pace of the balloon. Repeated efforts can then be made by the swimmer to improve his endurance at that particular pace. The marker is moved toward the finish line as the performance increases and serves as a goal which the swimmer can strive to improve. Used in this manner the pacing device shows the specific limits of the swimmers capability and also offers the swimmer an incentive basis for improvement.

Alternative Embodiment An alternative arrangement for the mechanical speed control device described is shown in FIGURE 5. A reversible, variable speed electric motor 51 is connected to a suitable source of AC. line voltage through a fuse 52 and a master switch 53. The line voltage is rectified by means of a rectifier 54 and applied to the motor through a three-position control switch 56 having an outbound position contact 57, a return position contact 58, and an automatic position contact 59. A variable resistor 60 is connected in circuit with the motor 51 to control the output speed of the motor. The output shaft of the motor 51 is connected to the pulley 31 to rotate drive pulley 14.

For manual operation the variable resistor 60 is adjusted to the desired balloon speed setting and the control switch 56 thrown to the outbound position contact 57. When the master switch 53 is closed the motor 51 is energized and the balloon 13 is advanced at the desired speed. As the balloon 13 reaches the idler post 15 the switch 56 is manually thrown to the return position contact 58. This reverses the motor 51 and returns the balloon to the control pedestal 17. This procedure is repeated for each lap of the pool until the swimmer has traversed the desired distance.

In starting, the variable resistor 60 may also be adjusted to the zero position and the master switch'53 closed. In this event the swimmer starts upon command and the variable resistor 60 is simultaneously adjusted to the desired speed setting.

For automatic operation, the starting procedure is repeated except that the control switch 56 is thrown to the automatic position contact 59. In this position a two-position time switch 61 controlled by the motor 51 is connected in circuit with the motor 51. A contact 62 of the switch 61 corresponds with the outbound position contact 57 while contact 63 of the switch 61 corresponds to the return position contact 59. The motor 51 is arranged to operate the time switch 61 at the proper intervals so that the switch 61 is automatically thrown to the contact 63 as the balloon 13 reaches the idler post 18. This reverses the motor 51 and returnsthe balloon to the control pedestal 17. As the balloon 13 reaches the drive pulley, the switch 61is automatically thrown to the contact position 62 and the motor reversed to start a next lap.

Thus I provide an automatic, variable speed device for pacing swimmers. In order to simulate turns and other movements of the swimmer the time switch 61. may be arranged to introduce a slight delay each time the switch 61 is thrown from one position to the other.

Although I have described my invention in detail' as a training device for pacing swimmers it is not intended to be limited thereto. My invention may be used as a pacing and training device for many types of sports and athletic events including track and field events, and other activities where it is desired to traverse a given distance at a determined speed. Also the invention may be used to pace racing events about circular and other types of race courses. Many alterations and modifications may be made in accordance with the principles of my invention which is to be limited only by the scope of the appended claims.

What I claim is:

1. A pacing device for providing a controlled reference speed comprising: an endless carrier disposed around a race course; a reference object secured to said endless carrier; drive means operatively connected to said carrier for advancing said carrier and said reference object around said race course at a controlled reference speed and control means operatively connected to said drive means for automatically stopping said drive means and starting said drive means after a determined interval.

2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 including a manual speed control arm operatively connected to said drive means.

3. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 including means for indicating the speed of said endless carrier along said determined course.

4. A device for pacing swimmers by providing a controlled reference speed comprising: an endless carrier; a reference object secured to said carrier; electrical motor means connected to said endless carrier for driving said endless carrier; manual means for varying the speed of said motor means whereby said reference object is ad- 10 including a variable transformer connected in electrical circuit with said motor for varying the output speed of said motor.

6. Apparatus as defined in claim 5 including a timer switch connected in electrical circuit with and controlled 5 by said motor for periodically reversing said motor at determined intervals whereby said reference object is moved back and forth along said determined course on said endless carrier.

20 References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,777,484 Fay et al. Oct. 7, 1930 2,077,375 Abraham Apr. 20, 1937 25 2,635,877 Levenstein Apr. 21, 1953

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1777484 *Nov 7, 1927Oct 7, 1930Alpheus FayAnimal-racing device
US2077375 *Sep 4, 1936Apr 20, 1937Jeremiah AbrahamApparatus for testing speedometers
US2635877 *Nov 9, 1950Apr 21, 1953Ann Sklar CarolRace game apparatus
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3882480 *Dec 26, 1973May 6, 1975Robert O GreberContact pacer timer
US3893099 *Jul 25, 1973Jul 1, 1975Zoepfl Jack AAthletic timer
US5402188 *Aug 17, 1992Mar 28, 1995Wayne; Thomas R.Athletic pacing goggles
US5451922 *Nov 6, 1992Sep 19, 1995Hamilton; Frederick C.Method and apparatus for pacing an athlete
Classifications
U.S. Classification472/85, 482/55, 434/254
International ClassificationA63B69/00, A63B69/12
Cooperative ClassificationA63B71/0686, A63B69/12
European ClassificationA63B71/06F